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New hospital: Neighbours to have forum to air concerns

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RESIDENTS and businesses living or operating close to the Hospital will be able to raise any concerns about the future facility through a new group, it has been decided.

Future hospital project director Bernard Place

Bernard Place, project director for the Health brief of the scheme, said that those living or who have businesses in a 100-metre radius of the site would be able to sit on a residents’ group which will liaise with the future hospital team.

Likewise, residents and businesses within a 100-metre radius of Westaway Court – which is based across Parade Gardens and has been earmarked for outpatient facilities such as respiratory, dermatology and physiotherapy – will also be able to sit on the panel.

Mr Place said the idea of the group emerged during a week-long public exhibition to showcase the revised plans for the £466 million new facility.

‘One of the things that they wanted was to set up a local residents’ group,’ Mr Place said. ‘Over the summer we will start to develop the group’s terms of reference. We would like that group to be active. What we know from other schemes where they have built a new hospital is that the more active and involved the local residents the better the scheme.’

More than 400 Islanders attended the exhibitions which were held at the Radisson Blu and Liberty Wharf last week following the unveiling of the future hospital team’s revised plans.

The new proposals come after the initial planning application to build on the General Hospital site was rejected by Environment Minister Steve Luce in January due to the scale and mass of the plans.

Under the new proposals, the new facility – which if given the go-ahead is expected to be fully operational by 2024 – would be six storeys instead of nine, as was previously proposed.

Mr Place said the project team picked up on an number of themes from the exhibitions.

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‘People did say that it was a more suitable scheme,’ he said. ‘It was pretty obvious that the mass of the building in these proposals is less overbearing than the previous proposals. They also liked that it is set back from the road, particularly along Kensington Place.’

Mr Place said the team spoke to a number of people who did not believe the new facility should be built on the current site. ‘Our job was not to persuade people but explain what we’ve been doing,’ he said. ‘We accept that not everyone believes the main Hospital site is the right location but it is the one agreed by the States Assembly.’

Mr Place added that some Islanders were critical of the fact that there was not a scale model depicting the revised plans at the exhibition. However, he said that a model is expected to be ready shortly.

Krysta Eaves

By Krysta Eaves
author

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